Posts Tagged ‘aqaba’

Too Much Pool Time

November 4-6, 2009: Nobody seemed inclined to linger over breakfast at the desert camp, and as we turned out to be very close to the highway we were in Aqaba by 10:00. Unfortunately, our hotel didn’t have our rooms ready, and I was dying for a shower. While I waited I went out to look for coffee, and found a little place on the lower level of a shopping complex. I chatted with a local who said he was a lawyer, but also owned a concrete company. And a taxi company…

Wadi Rum near our camp

I got one of the first rooms available, so I was able to shower and change before we set off for the beach. I had intended to snorkel in Aqaba, but I hadn’t slept well, and decided not to bother with renting equipment and getting wet-suited up – the guidebooks said the best Red Sea snorkeling was further south. The tour took us to one of the beach hotels, which offered not-bad food, and a swimming pool. After taking a look at the state of the beach I was just as happy to chill out by the pool.

Aqaba turned out to be a very westernized resort, with a downtown full of hotels and restaurants. After dinner a small group of us did find the local market, still lively even at night, but also surrounded by souvenir shops. On the way back to the hotel my Birkenstocks betrayed me again, although this time I fell forward, badly bruising my left knee. I raided the mini-bar in my room for cold drink cans in lieu of ice.

Dead Sea

The last full day of the tour featured the Dead Sea. We visited the public beach, rather than one of the hotels, where we found changing rooms, freshwater showers, a buffet and swimming pools – but no spa or massages. Of course, I floated in the salty waters, although I held an umbrella doing duty as a sunshade rather than a newspaper. (No, I did not have anyone take a photo.) And yes, it really is that salty and it really is that easy to float. But you can only do that for so long.

We spent most of the afternoon at the resort, which, coming right after Aqaba, added up to far too much pool time for me. I was glad to get back to Amman. The tour leader didn’t organize a farewell dinner, and once again seemed to have no knowledge of the restaurant scene. He sent one group off in a taxi to the Shmeisani district, and as I discovered later that is no longer a good place to look for food (they eventually gave up and ate at the hotel). I went off with a younger crowd to a restaurant that a couple of them had found downtown.

Since I didn’t have a plane to catch I ate a leisurely breakfast at the Toledo next morning. Although the tour had been disappointing in some respects, it had provided the hotels and transport I had had trouble arranging myself, and I had enjoyed the company.

I said farewell to my roommate, and took a taxi to the Hisham hotel, near the embassy district. The Hisham sounded nice, but I wasn’t actually staying there. They were renovating, and were putting me up in the Canyon Boutique, next to the Jordan Hospital, instead.

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